To See Jesus

#30 Steven @ 32nd Street and Thomas, Phoenix.

Steven was just sitting on the corner, minding his own business. No sign. No hand out. Maybe he was taking a break from standing but when I encountered him, he was just watching traffic.

I sat down next to him and asked what he thought of the weather. It was a bit chilly for me.

He made small talk for a minute, but clearly wasn’t comfortable with me sitting with him so I got up to leave.

He probably didn’t feel any more special today, but for me he was a milestone.

I’ve just met thirty individuals, and passed out thirty extra lunches.

Actually, there’s a few more than thirty, but I didn’t get their names. Not that they don’t count as individuals, but not as a name to go with a face. God knows their name. I want to know their name too.

Thirty seemed like a big deal to me.

That’s one person a day for a month.

Wish I could say that’s a goal I’ve actually met, but it’s still thirty people I never would have taken the time to meet if I never followed through on my “What if” conversation I had with my friend.

All these names are people, like real people. All people who were once little kids, who went to school and had friends and a family, just like me.

1. Norma at 32nd Street and Windsor, Phoenix. Norma had her public assistance cut.

Recycle guy at 32nd Street and Yale, Phoenix. He was going through a dumpster of a trailer park looking for cans and bottles. I don’t think he speaks English.

2. Kurt at Washington and I10, Phoenix. Kurt lives out in a field. He’s looking for a job that will pay cash since he can’t afford to lose his public health insurance. I’ve actually had a lunch for him, a couple of times. If I see someone more than once, I try to check in with them.

3. Mike at 91st Ave and Olive, Peoria. Mike is an older gentleman looking for a job but won’t turn down food either.

4. Steve “Sarge” at 83rd Ave and Bell, Peoria. Steve is struggling to pay for his wife’s medical bills.

5. Daniel at 59th Ave and Northern, Glendale. Daniel is a young guy who’s hungry and hanging outside of the Walmart parking lot.

6. Rebecca at 59th Ave and Northern, Glendale. Rebecca is up early looking for food.

7. Jack at 67th Ave and Thunderbird, Glendale. When I offered Jack a lunch he asked me why I wasn’t going to eat it. I told him I already ate mine and I made a second one for him. He was in shock and couldn’t understand why I would do that.

8. Gary at 20th Street and Thomas, Phoenix. When I asked how his day was going, he told me not good, but when I offered him a lunch and told him I hope it gets better, he became so excited and told me it already is.

A man pushing a cart at 27th Ave and Yorkshire, Phoenix. His sign said he was 73 and a US vet. Couldn’t get his name or story since we were stuck in the car, holding up traffic and not having a place to pull over.

9. Scott at Buckeye and I 10 exit, Phoenix. He’s from Arkansas. Been here about a year. He came out to help a friend. I have no idea what happened to the friend but he’s hoping to get a job next month.

10. Kevin at 32nd Street & Washington, Phoenix. Kevin was pulling a cart full of cans, empty bottles and scrape metal across the street. Two months ago he was in an accident that required putting several pins in his elbow. The other driver left the scene.

11 & 12. Corina and Lydia at 59th Ave and Bethany Home, Glendale. This is the day I told my son he’d have to leave my house, for the second time. I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as well as brought bags of chips, popcorn and some fruit. Even though there was several people in the same park, there were the only two who would have lunch with me. I gave the peanut butter jar and jelly to Corina since she said she had kids.

13. Spanish speaking woman (got her name, couldn’t understand it) at the light between the 101 and 91st Ave and Northern, Peoria. She was holding a sign asking help for her kids.

14. Steve at Cortez Park at 35 Ave and Dunlap, Phoenix. Steve was fishing in the park with his buddy A.Z. We didn’t get to meet A.Z. but Steve asked if we could put a lunch in his chair for him.

15. Jim at Cortez Park at 35 Ave and Dunlap, Phoenix. He was older and sitting cross legged in the middle of the grass. I don’t know that he was doing anything but sitting.

16 &17. Nate and his son Timothy at 7th Street and Indian School, Phoenix. Timothy’s mom, Kristy was at work.

18 & 19. Gail and Lieutenant John at the canal just east of 19th Ave and Hatcher, Phoenix. I couldn’t miss Miss Gail’s hot pink hair from the road.

20. Ramon at a field on Grand Ave, north of Indian School, Phoenix. He was sitting in the middle of an empty field.

21. Pete at I17 and Peoria, Phoenix. He accepted my lunch, then put it on the ground and pushed it away from him. Perhaps he will eat it later.

22. Darrin at 7th Street and Dunlap, Phoenix. Darrin’s sign read, “homeless and hungry.”

23. Sky at Country Club and Baseline, Mesa. Told me a poem he wrote about tears and rainbows. Also a metaphor about not grieving for loved ones, but writing a thank you letter to them.

24. Gene at 19th Ave and Bethany Home, Phoenix. Hid his face behind his sign that said, “Please help.” He wouldn’t make eye contact with me, but was very nice.

25. Eddie at I10 and Litchfield Rd, Goodyear. He was sitting on the ground with his back up against a street sign, holding a sign that read HUNGRY. I asked him how his day was going. He smiled and told me he’s not complaining.

26. Nicki at Northern and Grand Ave, Phoenix. Nicki looked like the life of the party wearing a fluffy skirt with leggings and I couldn’t tell you how many colors her hair was. Her sign read, “Anything would help.”

27. Howard at Arizona Ave and Ray, Chandler. Howard was pushing his cart down Arizona Ave.

28. Syai (Sy) at 5th Ave and Hatcher, Phoenix. Sy was very grateful for his lunch, but he wants a place to stay. He asked for help. No one has asked for my help before. Questioned why God brought me to him. I felt helpless.

29. Justin at 59th Ave and Thunderbird, Glendale. His sign read, “food”.

30. Steven at 32nd Street and Thomas, Phoenix. Steven was just sitting on the corner, minding his own business.

But something went wrong.

Maybe they were taken into foster care after something horrific happened?

Maybe something horrific happened, and they weren’t!

Maybe they were raised by addicts?

Maybe they have an undiagnosed disability?

Maybe they have a mental illness?

Maybe they don’t trust?

Maybe they’re scared?

Maybe they’re facing their own demons?

Maybe they’re socially awkward and were outcasted?

Maybe they mentally can’t handle relationships?

Maybe they did something terrible, and believe this is all they deserve?

Maybe they were abandoned?

Maybe they are self medicating because they can’t afford help?

Maybe they’re heartbroken?

Maybe they’re lost?

I don’t really believe everyone of these thirty people are lazy and have poor budgeting skills.

I don’t believe they decided one day they didn’t like all the responsibilities that come with a job and family, so they believed living on the streets would be easier.

I don’t believe anything that is going on inside their head is easy.

Are there scammers?

Maybe, but even still, I don’t believe any of them are living a life to be envied, so who are they really cheating?

Maybe they don’t have any desire to come off the street.

Maybe they are choosing to live this life.

Maybe they make poor choices.

Does this mean they are forfeiting their value? They have no worth?

I don’t believe that’s true.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you. – Psalm 139:13-18

When it all boils down to it… maybe they’re just not as good at hiding all their brokenness as I am? That shouldn’t change anything.

So my goal remains the same.

To look like Jesus to a stranger, if only for a brief encounter.

To see what Jesus sees.

To see Jesus.

Mr. Brokenhearted

#25 Eddie @ I10 and Litchfield Rd, Goodyear.

Recently I was telling Mike, before I started making extra lunches, I would notice people living on the street, everywhere.

Since making an extra lunch, they are much harder for me to find. Some days, I don’t see anyone at all.

I wonder to myself, if maybe God has someone in mind for me and he doesn’t want me distracted.

So I look for them. Sometimes it requires me…OK, most of the time, it requires me parking my car at quite a distance before I can walk back to them to learn who they are.

Today I was driving to my last interpreting assignment and coming off the freeway, when I saw Eddie.

After seeing him on the corner, I had to drive under the overpass, circle around in a couple of parking lots before parking at Jack in the Box, and walking back to meet him.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. – Psalm 34:18

I know where to find him.

I know when I see him.

I know he pursues me. And I like to pursue him too.

Today, I scared him as I approached him from behind. I’m always afraid of doing that. He was sitting on the ground with his back up against a street sign, holding a sign that read ‘HUNGRY’.

I asked him how his day was going. He smiled and told me he’s not going to complain. As soon as he does, things get real bad.

I shook his hand a couple of times. First after he stood up to greet me, the second after I told him I made an extra lunch for him and he grabbed my hand again as he accepted my brown paper bag.

“I’m so hungry”, he tells me.

I squeeze his forearm, as a driver in a car pulls up, hooks her horn, and starts waving something out her front window.

Certain, that she wasn’t looking for my attention, I turned to walk back under the overpass to get back to my car.

“Have a great day, Eddie!”

Yep, today I saw Jesus. He was there. Taking care of his sheep.

Blessed are Those Who are Persecuted for Righteousness

The most controversial thing I hope anyone ever sees or hears from me is my love of Christ Jesus. That is truly the only thing I feel strong enough to defend and the only that matters.

I don’t believe there is anything, anyone can do to get in or stay out of heaven, other than whether or not they accept that Christ paid their way. Our tickets are at Will Call. We just need to claim them.

Now, until that day comes we have lots of choices to do what we please. Some are wise choices and others, not so much. Regardless, our sins or our good deeds are not our tickets to heaven. However, we do have something to guide us while were here, you know, to help keep us safe, get us through, provide comfort, give us wisdom and a bunch of other stuff to help us. It’s call the Bible.

Let me explain.

Your boot for example. Could you use it to hammer in a nail if you needed to? Probably, yes. Was it designed to do that? Ah, no. It actually does a better job of protecting your feet. It was designed that way. The same could be said of your body. We do lots of stuff to it and with it, but are we using it the way it was designed? I see the Bible as like an instruction booklet for your boot…I mean body. It explains how it was made, what it was made for, and how to use it properly, all for the gain of getting its most benefit from.

We all arrive here the same way, and we will all leave here the same way too. But how we live differs greatly.

So for me, it doesn’t matter who’s the president, or who he’s selected to help him do his job, what rights are being perceived as being taken from me, or what brand of peanut butter is the healthy one. There is no point in getting upset and have it consume me when I know…

… that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. – Romans 8:28

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. –  1 John 1:9

The LORD is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. – Psalms 145:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8

Not everyone will agree with me, and that’s ok. I will still respect you. But please don’t be upset if I don’t join on your bandwagon.  I would rather you know what I’m for, than what I’m against. God calls me to love, so I will do that.

 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:36-40

Mr. Pete and Mr. Darrin

#21, Pete @ I17 and Peoria, Phoenix.

As I drove down the exit ramp heading south to turn east, I noticed Mr. Pete from the corner of my eye, sitting on the curb on the opposite corner. With him he had a backpack and a small sign that I never got to read.

After making a couple of U-turns and parking a quarter of a mile away, I walked down to the corner he was tucked away at.

He accepted my lunch, then put it on the ground and pushed it away from him.

Perhaps he will eat it later.

Kinda felt it wasn’t food he was looking for, but that’s OK. There will be those people.

Interestingly enough, after waking back to my car and driving across the street to a QT to use the bathroom and write my note about Mr. Pete, I look up to find someone else who I noticed working the median at a different corner.

He was holding his sign, along with a couple of bags of groceries that he had just recently purchased from inside the store. In his hands were a couple of boxes of cereal, a Monster, a fountain drink and a coffee cup.

I observed him conversing with another gentleman who was struggling with something on his bike.

Shortly thereafter, an employee came out and had something to say to him. It seemed that the employee was not happy, while the gentleman with his groceries and sign, looked confused.

I was confused as well.

I watched him being told to leave the property from the comfort of my car. My car that was parked in front of one of their entrances and I, who only used their bathroom and did not purchase anything was not approached at all or asked to leave.

Interesting.

#22, Darrin @ 7th street and Dunlap, Phoenix.

Mr. Darrin’s sign read, “Homeless and Hungry”.

I find it interesting that people have confronted me about using the term “Homeless” and accuse me of giving them a derogatory label, when in fact, it appears, it is what they call themselves.

For the record, Deaf people who are deaf, consider the term “Hearing Impaired”, to be derogatory, even though those who can hear feel it is more politically correct. Just saying.

Maybe there’s a difference, maybe there’s not.

Having already giving my extra lunch away, I pulled over to give him a coat that was donated to me; he was after all, wearing a sleeveless shirt.

After approaching him and offering the coat, I realized he already had one that he was not wearing.

Awkward moment when I feel he accepts my offer to not hurt my feelings.

Ugh….

I don’t even know what to say about that, except there was a time when I was single and struggling to clothe my four children.

I would never turn down anything that was given to me. Even if I had plenty, I never knew if I was going to run out.

I figured it was a gift that I didn’t know I was going to need. I felt it was God’s provision.

If he doesn’t need it, I hope he gives it to someone who does.

Lord, please look after Mr. Pete and Mr. Darrin. I pray that what they seek is what they need. In your Son’s name. Amen.

Mr. Ramon

Ramon is #20 of the 365 names I want to collect.

I collect my names through extra lunches, but it’s not about the lunches. It’s not even really about the names. It’s about the people.

My goal is to match 365 faces with a name. If I can get a story too, well that would be icing!

What I hope to do is to inspire others to show more compassion.

We are all called to love God and love others (Matthew 22:37). One way I do that is by searching for those who are hungry.

#20 Ramon @ a field on Grand Ave, north of Indian School, Phoenix.

Mr Ramon was sitting in the middle of an empty field surrounded by his treasures.

I hollered out a hello as I approached, just so I wouldn’t spook him.

He seemed to be intently working on something, but by scanning the ground around where he sat, I couldn’t figure out exactly what. His hands were wet, soapy even, I think.

I told him I had made an extra lunch today, and wondered if he was hungry.

He looked away from me.

I thought for a moment he was going to say no.

He gazed back.

“Well.” He paused, “I’m always hungry.”

His voice was soft. He sounded gentle. He spoke as if he was in no hurry, and pondered the words he wanted to speak. “Thank you.”

He reached out to grab my sack as I extended it to him.

“I hope you have a great day, Ramon.” I turn to leave when I heard him call out.

“Kim?” I turn to face him. “I think I’ve seen you before. You and your husband. You were walking.”

I assured him it wasn’t me. I was a little disappointed it wasn’t.

“Oh.” He started to sit back down.

“God bless,” I told him as I started heading back to my car again.

I had wished we weren’t standing alone in the middle of a field.

I wished I wasn’t a woman who had to be mindful of her safety.

He seemed lonely.

I hope his meal brought him comfort.

Miss Gail and Lieutenant John

I couldn’t miss Miss Gail’s hot pink hair from the road.

I made a U-turn and headed back.

Once I started walking to where she was camped at, I could see there were three other people with her.

I’m not going to lie, I was scared.

I kept asking God to protect me. I was at their home and I didn’t know what to expect.

I handed Miss Gail the one lunch I had with me and immediately she asked if I was with county.

I didn’t even know what she meant. I told her no, I just couldn’t help but notice her beautiful pink hair from the road and wanted to turn around to give her my extra lunch.

She thanked me and I started walking off when Lieutenant John spoke something to me that I couldn’t hear, so walked back.

He was telling me his name was John but the people on the street gave him the name lieutenant.

He spoke really fast. They both did.

Miss Gail came over to us and was saying something I didn’t quite understand but she seemed agitated and set something wrapped in a black bag on the wall and said they were needles.

Dear God, why do you have me here?

Apparently they were something she took from someone because she felt they were dangerous.

I don’t even know. I’m still trying to piece together what she was talking about.

I didn’t feel safe.

Lieutenant John wanted to talk to me about where he’s from, Indiana by the way. His friend who didn’t give me his name joined the conversation, briefly. Their fourth friend had nothing to say.

I left telling Miss Gail I would pray God would put a hedge of protection around her and to stay safe, since I felt she felt she was in danger from the person she took the needles from.

I really don’t know what to think.

This was the 20th lunch I have given out.

It was the first time I ever felt uneasy while I was there and not sure how I should feel after I left.

They were very nice. They were not threatening.

I was scared because they talked fast.
I couldn’t understand what they were saying.
She asked me something, I didn’t know what she meant or who she thought I was.
She openly talked to me about meth and needles.

I don’t think I will go to anyone’s home again. I don’t think that was smart.

But I won’t let this interaction stop me from packing an extra lunch.

I want to continue to love God and love others.

Lord, please look after Miss Gail and her friends. She could really use your help. Thank you for giving her friends she seems to trust and can look out for her. I pray they feel your call for their lives and may they feel your love.

Help me to find you during this brief encounter I had. May I learn from what you wanted me to see. Amen

“Do Not Fear”… But I Do

Precursor… Yesterday, I informed my eighteen year old son, he would once again, have to leave my house.

Yesterday, I was beyond grief. I was mad. I was scared.

Today at church we were introduced to a new song. I meditate on it as we are always encouraged to do.

“I am no longer a slave to fear.
I am a Child of God”

… and yet I’m afraid because I’m not sure of where my son is in all of this.

He is also a child of God.
Isn’t he?

Is he still saved?

Could he just be screwing up his time here, but still be with me in eternity?

Am I responsible for where he spends his life in eternity, or how he spends his life here on earth?

If he suffers here while he’s here on earth, but not when he’s in heaven, am I OK with that?

He had accepted Christ as his Savior at one time. Is it still true if he doesn’t give him that position right now?

Is there an age requirement? Was he too young at the time, and therefore irrelevant?

I believe our sins are not what keeps us from entering heaven, but rather, not accepting God’s gift; which is acknowledging Christ came to die for our sins.

Is my son still saved?

Am I upset over his choices because of the consequences he will suffer here on earth, or because of not knowing his eternity?

I’m also aware that one could live a life that looks good but still not spend eternity in heaven.

Which would I rather him live with?

I’m so confused.
My heart aches.

“I am no longer a slave to fear.
I am a Child of God”
… how can this be true?

You are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. – Galatians 4:7

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

“Do not fear”…but I do!

No, I do not fear for myself, but I do fear for the life of my son.

What am I missing?
What do I not get?

What’s Next?

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Finished my last job early today at 11:30, so headed from Paradise Valley to my office in Phoenix. Driving down 32nd street I spot Miss Norma sitting on a curb in a city park parking lot.

As I drive up to her, taking out a curb in my car myself, she stands up to walk away. Can’t say that I blame her considering my relationships with curbs and all, but I call out to her.

“Excuse me.”

Even as fumbling with trying to turn my gps off on my phone, she walks over to me.

“I made an extra lunch today. I was wondering if you would like it?”

Immediately I feel her heart swell.

“Thank you,” she says. “They cut my assistance. They cut my food stamps. I’m living off of $630 a month for rent and that’s about it, but God is still providing.”

She is nothing but skin and bones. I can’t tell how old she is. Life has certainly taken her youth, but she’s still praising God.

“Thank you,” she adds. “What a nice way to start my day off.”

I shake her hand and introduce myself.

Miss Norma, I pray you have a blessed day.

“I already am. Thank you, again.”

One down.

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I drive about a thousand feet from the city park, and I spot an older gentleman wearing a couple of shirts, and a large floppy hat, like what you would see a gardner wear. He’s going through a large trash bin from a trailer park, pulling out plastic bottles and aluminum cans.

Having past the turn in, I circle around the block and head back. I pull up close to the wall so as not to spook him. He doesn’t notice me approach until I’m right in front of him.

Holding up the lunch bag I tell him I made an extra lunch and ask if he would like it. He smiles and nods as he puts his hand out for it.

“Thank you,” he says softly, a whisper really, and high pitch voice that is almost childlike.

At this point I’m wondering if he even understand me because now he is just nodding at me with a gentle grin.

I put my hand up to shake his hand. He extends his arm, and showing me how dirty his gloves are. I squeeze his forearm.

“Thank you,” he says once again.

I get back in my car and proceed to continue driving around the drive to get back out.

Within ten feet I pass two gentlemen who are talking next to their car and then suddenly notice I’m driving the wrong way.

Feeling like a dumb white girl, I stop, make a U-turn and wave back at the two men as I drive pass them once again.

Two down.

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Knowing I have one more lunch to hand out, I take 32nd street all the way down to Washington, instead of going on the freeway. As I’m going under the overpass I notice Mr. Kurt.

Only problem is there is no place for me to pull over. I drive a quarter of a mile to the light and question if I should really pull over now knowing I’d have to walk a quarter of a mile back to him.

I turn right and park in front of the line of cars that have parked along the street to walk into the eatery across the road. I start trekking back to the freeway exit.

As I walk, I notice a makeshift shack tucked closely behind a dirt pile in the open field, with two people moving about.

This must be his home I think, wishing I had another two lunches with me.

As I approach his curb I see he’s holding his sign up to the exiting drivers.

He waves to me.

He is wearing a heavy, black, worn leather jacket and jeans. He has grey, scraggly hair that falls at about his shoulders. He’s rather quite handsome.

As he realizes I’m about to talk to him, he pulls an ear bud out of his left ear.

“How are you?” I ask as I extend my hand.

He takes his cigarette out of his mouth and shakes my hand with his free hand.

“Good, thank you. But very hungry.”

I explain that I was driving down the road and noticed him. Being that I had made an extra lunch today, I thought I would pull over and bring it to him.

“Oh God bless you,” he says.

“He already has,” I reply. “Have a good day.”

I walk back a quarter of a mile to my car.

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As I walk I think to myself, God sees this. He sees where Mr. Kurt lives. He sees how hard some will work to earn a little bit of cash collecting trash. He sees Miss. Norma struggles.

They are his children and he loves them just as much as he loves me. And I’m his favorite, so that’s a whole lot! I’m glad I got to meet them today. I’d like to meet more of them.

So what I’ve learned…

– Pack bananas, not apples. The whole bad teeth thing is real.
– Transcribe my note in Spanish too.
– Get out of my car to interact.
– If they want to talk, listen. If they don’t, don’t take it personally and just walk away.
– This took almost no time to do.

And finally,
– Today I saw the face of God. He’s beautiful and I want to see him again soon and quite often.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat” – Matthew 25:35

What If?

Tonight I went to my Mat Group. It’s a group where we get together to make sleeping mats, like what we gave out for Christmas, to the homeless. We meet every other Wednesday at a local coffee shop.

There are three of us.

Yes, many people have said they want to come. Several have come every once in awhile. But for the most part it’s just the three of us.

I love this group!

It is more than just a time to do something nice for someone else. Honestly, that’s just the excuse I use for us to get together.

Because it is while we pull out balls of plarn and crochet down one side of a chain, turn and crochet back over it again, we talk.

We talk about the past two weeks. We celebrate our accomplishments. Cry over our disappoints. We fume over our frustrations.

And tonight we talked about our WHAT IFs. What if we did more? What if there is something else we should be doing? What if we could be doing something for someone? And what if we’re not?

What are we suppose to be doing? What is our purpose?

I shared that I’ve been having this idea about packing a lunch to give away to someone on the street. Most of my day is spent in my car and I see these people daily. They just wander. I don’t know where they are going or what they are going to do.

It’s funny because I told them I haven’t yet because I wasn’t sure what I’m suppose to do.

I thought about making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. But WHAT IF it’s not eaten right away? It could get soggy or the bread could go stale.

I could pack an apple. But WHAT IF they have bad teeth and can’t bite into it?

WHAT IF….?

I stopped myself.

WHAT IF I just did it instead of thinking so much about it?

If I make a sandwich, then it means I can’t come home until I’ve given it away. I will make sure I slice the apples.

In fact, I went home tonight and scrounged around in my kitchen looking for what I had.

I packed a snack size baggie with some cinnamon toast crunch. I grabbed a water bottle from the fridge. I made just a peanut butter sandwich because I was out of jelly, but I cut it diagonally down the center, because that’s how I like my sandwiches. I had a jolly rancher in my car and a piece of gum on my bathroom counter. I neatly folded a paper towel, since I’m out of napkins, and placed it gently inside, with a note, I hand wrote giving a little bit of hope.

That’s what came out of tonight’s Mat Group, other than the three sleeping mats that are currently in production. In fact, I went ahead and made three.

One for each one of us.

Someone, well, three someones, will be having lunch on God’s dime, tomorrow.

And WHAT IF I didn’t get to see it? WHAT IF it never happened? I’ll write tomorrow to let you know what I might have missed!

Until then, what is your, WHAT IF?

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My Morning Issue

I am seriously, overwhelmed, by the role God has placed me in.

It started with just a pin I found on Pinterest. A pin I discarded because I didn’t think I could really make any impact.

It was to make a sleeping mat for someone who is homeless. Five hundred to seven hundred grocery bags to make one. ONE!

Where would I come up with five to seven hundred bags? To make just one? Really?

Why would I do that?

Who would I really be helping? Sure, ONE person.

I kinda wish I knew the name of that one person, now.

Because I am learning with God’s economy, ONE can multiply into MANY!

Seriously with God, what’s up is down, what’s down is up. One soul is priceless while many good deeds are worthless.

So please don’t say what I do is great. There is only One who is great, and that One is not me. I am only obedient.

Jesus says to do two things, love God and love others. That is all that I am doing. Not only can anyone do that, but everyone should be doing that.

Doing what I am told does not make me great. It makes me faithful.

Faithfulness grows from obedience.

And that one mat has turned into a ministry that is so much bigger than myself. In its year of existence, not I, but my friends and I have made and donated 53 mats. That is more than one mat a week!

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How is that possible? I don’t know! Did I mention it takes five to seven hundred bags FOR ONE? Do you know how long it takes to make just one? It could take awhile, and I promise you, I have not been crocheting a mat a week… for a year!

From the mat ministry, our hat ministry formed.

We donated nearly 400 hats to a shelter in Flagstaff this Thanksgiving, with just a handful of friends and a box full of yarn.

In my garage now, I have enough yarn to make at least another 400, and I didn’t buy any of it!

This is crazy!

Yesterday, I got a call asking if the church we’re donating our mats to, could use the clothes, jackets, food and hygiene products her church has been collecting for a year.

WELL, YEAH!

And now, here I am trying to figure out how I’m gonna fit all our mats in the back of my Expedition with all their stuff?!?

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What a stinkin’ cool problem to have to deal with this morning!

My heart is full and my mind is blown.

What I have learned is loving on one person is enough to grow my faith. I don’t have to feel I need to help many people, just the one God puts in front of me.

The rest will come and my faith will grow.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart  and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31